Stop us if you've heard this one before: Paramount Plus is getting a price hike. The service broke the news of this change on an earnings call where part of the price hike was attributed to the addition of Showtime, which is being added to the higher-tier of Paramount Plus.
The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab) quotes Paramount Group President Bob Bakish as saying "We all know streaming represents incredible value for consumers and the Paramount Plus offering is far from the industry price leader. We are on the value end of the pricing spectrum. And so in 2023, we will raise prices both for Paramount Plus Premium and Essential, both in the U.S., and select international markets."
So, yes, Paramount Plus' price hike will hit you even if you're not getting Showtime. The entry-level tier — with ads and without Paramount Plus — goes up from $4.99 a month to $5.99 per month, while the $9.99 per month ad-free tier will go to $11.99 as it becomes Paramount Plus with Showtime.
When this happens, though, is a bit up in the air, arriving with Paramount Plus and Showtime's merging. Paramount Plus' press site does not have any official press releases on this impending price change.
Analysis: Yes, streaming is costing more — everywhere
This price bump is the fifth in the last few months, following Disney Plus' $3 price hike on its ad-free tier as it introduced an ad-supported tier. HBO Max, right in time for the release of The Last of Us, raised its ad-free tier price by $1 to $15.99.
It's not just on-demand services though, as some of the best cable TV alternatives are getting more expensive. Live TV services DirecTV Stream and Fubo TV raised prices, by $5 per month on each, and Sling TV's Blue packages got $5 more expensive in select regions as it added ABC.
It doesn't seem like we've hit "go back to cable" territory yet, but it's deeply frustrating. It's also very likely leading to a lot of 'churn,' as customers cancel their memberships while planning to come back later. For example, folks who are waiting for The Mandalorian season 3 may have ditched Disney Plus until March 1, since there weren't any big titles in January or February besides Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Feb. 1) or Star Wars: The Bad Batch season 2 (Jan. 4 – March 29).
The rise of ad-supported services, with Netflix Basic with ads and Disney Plus Basic arriving in late 2022 shows that services are trying to stop the bleeding with more-affordable tiers.